1116 - 108th Avenue NE* Phone: (425) 455-116 * Fax: (425) 455-4793
ROSIE’S TOO * 221 106th Ave NE Bellevue * (425) 455-0363


Vol. XIV , No 2 Spring 2005

Inside this edition of Small Wonders...

True Survivors: Early Dolls Made of China

May 21st – October 31st, 2005

Glazed porcelain, or china head dolls, were commercially manufactured beginning in the 1840s as a side-product of the German porcelain factory K.P.M. and other German firms with their own porcelain factories, such as Kestner & Co. and Kister. Made for many decades, often these delicate dolls were cared for so lovingly, that they survived to be passed from generation to generation. Often a previous owner has also recorded the doll’s history, including her “name” and the names of previous owners. However, the manufacturers unfortunately did not mark most china head dolls in any way, making it very difficult to assign a maker to the dolls.

Given this frustrating impediment, the timing could not be better to bring the china head dolls out for an exhibit. Thanks to recent research by doll historians, especially Christiane Gräfnitz, and Mary Krombholz (available in Krombholz’s recently published book Identifying German Chinas 1840s-1930s), we have been able to attribute manufacturers to a number of previously unidentified china head dolls in the collection. The Kestner lady, whose image accompanies this article, is one such doll. We now know that she bears several characteristics typical of a Kestner china head, such as the painted oval nostrils and unpainted space between the slightly smiling lips.

If you have a “china” of your own awaiting identification, you may find answers or at least some “leads” in this exhibit. We hope you will join us as we study the history of these beautiful and heretofore mysterious dolls.

-Jill Gorman

from the director...

The transformation from French fashions to dollhouses and room boxes, which was even shocking to us, was all too brief. Already we must say good-bye to the line of forehead prints we inevitably acquire along the glass each day as our visitors attempt an ever closer peek into the tiny habitats created by our 7 featured women miniaturists. The realism of the spaces, and in some instances the surrealism, and the breathtaking resemblances the dolls have to their human counterparts was appreciated by people of all ages, once again proving the vast appeal of minutia. We sincerely hope you made time to visit this incredible display portraying, not only the creative genius of these women, but the unbelievable hours of labor it took to produce their art. (Not to mention good eyes and a steady hand!)

So now, with another giant leap, we proudly present dolls made of china, an exhibit we have anticipated for a long time. Several remarkable researchers have published works on chinas in recent years bringing to light the makers of some of the dolls that have been in obscurity all this time. Mona Borger, Christiane Gräfnitz, and Mary Krombholz all have contributed so much to the doll world with their remarkable findings and extensive work with the companies, patents, markings, and general footwork it takes to really identify some of these rare and wonderful dolls.

Some in our collection still remain elusive, but that is the joy of collecting: tomorrow may find the answer. Please come to visit the amazing and early dolls that our own great grandmothers played with and lovingly preserved for us. If you love only textiles, this is the exhibit for you. The early cottons and fine wools on some of these dolls are worth a trip, and the underpinnings, all hand stitched,...well, come see.

-Rosalie A Whyel

Welcome To Our New & Returning Members:

Joan B Bates

Coskey Family

Andrea Eastman

Nancy Greenawalt

Jerri Hill

Diana Johnson

Estelle Johnston

Carole D Kipp

Marsha Marquardt

MaryAnne Navitsky

Valerie Orlosky

Jan Rohrmann

Min Wells

Sally Spear Bauer

Laurae Dunning

Elaine Garland

Barbara Heib

Becky Johnson

Vicki L Johnson

Mary Kelloniemi

Judy E Lloyd

Sue Molvic

Lynne Olson

Patty Phillips

Charlotte van Dyck

We would like to thank the following people for their generous
donations during the last quarter:

Anonymous donation in memory of Helen Architect
Doll clothing (made by Helen) and doll clothing made by Pleasant Company

Nancy Anderson
Vinyl head doll with original clothing

Amanda Devine
Collection of dolls, doll parts, doll furniture, c. 1950s

Sinclair C. Malm
Doll patterns and magazines

Mary Ann Pitzler
Girl’s Day Display

Gustav Raaum
Pair of wooden carvings, Ainu Tribe, Hokkaido Island, Japan

Bonnie Jean Shipman
“Collector’s Colors” Crayola Crayons©

Nancy B. Solibakke
Two wooden doll trunks, wooden blocks, miniatures

Gretchen B. Stengel
Silk outfit for toddler, c. 1930


From the Museum Store...



Call or stop by for more details or call the Museum Store:
(425) 455-1116 or toll free at 1-800-440-DOLL.

Show Dates

Lake City Elks
Seattle WA
Saturday April 23, 2005
10am - 3pm
Lake City Community Center
Seattle WA
Saturday May 21, 2005
10am - 3pm
Benton County Fairgrounds
Kennewick WA
Saturday May 21, 2005
10am - 4pm
Vallejo Fairgrounds
Vallejo CA
Friday May 6, 2005
12pm - 4pm
Saturday May 7, 2005
9am - 3pm
Puyallup Fairgrounds
Puyallup WA
Saturday June 25 &
Sunday June 26, 2005
10am - 4pm

*Look for the Museum sales table

Museum Events

MARCH 5 - MAY 15 2005
“Miniatures: Women Thinking Big In Small Scale”
Changing Gallery Exhibit

JUNE 4 2005
“Accessories for Dolly” sale
Member Event
Museum Rose Room
(see Museum Tidbits)

MAY 7 2005
Mother’s Day Tea
1pm Museum Rose Room
(see Museum Tidbits)
JUNE 11 2005
Doll Appraisal Clinic
at Rosie’s Too
During Regular Hours
MAY 21 - OCTOBER 31 2005
“True Survivors: Early Dolls Made of China”
Changing Gallery Exhibit

Our Newsletter Via Email!

Thank you to everyone who has so enthusiastically responded to our emailed Newsletter! What a computer savvy bunch doll collectors are! Due to such a positive response and to help support the Museum, we will be offering our quarterly Newsletter solely via email. Adobe Acrobat, which is available free online, is all that is needed, though most computers come with it already installed. A printable version, exactly like the published one, can come right to you on a more timely basis to read at your leisure and throw away or store with a click of a button. Help us keep costs down and receive notice of events and exhibits faster by signing up today! Just email us at to sign up or find out more about it; we welcome questions. Remember we keep all of our past newsletters on the website for viewing any time! THIS IS OUR LAST PAPER ISSUE. Thank you for your support which will allow us to provide better exhibits, events, and programs for you. If you do not have access to email, please call the Museum.

Other Museum Tidbits!

Museum Out & About

Do you find Carole at the NANCY JO DOLL AND TOY SALE in Vallejo in May and October? Or in Bellevue at the DOLL MARKET? Or will you be seeing Rosalie, Shelley, and Lacee (that’s right, now you can put a face to her name) at the UFDC NATIONAL CONVENTION in Philadelphia? We’re doing a dinner event and we’ll be in the SALES ROOM! Or maybe you took your family doll to the Puyallup CROSSROADS DOLL AND TEDDY BEAR SHOW in March for Rosalie to evaluate at Dorothy Drake’s Restoration Clinic. Are you a museum member and attended one of our recent MEMBER EVENTS like the Wigs, Pates, and Eyes? Or did you join Rosalie and Ellie on the grand EUROPEAN DOLL TOUR?
Not reasons enough to join us? Well, mark your calendars for our next MEMBER EVENT June 4, 2005! And, if you’re like me and like to plan ahead, save the dates of the week of September 17, 2005 for our 13th BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION and April 27 and 28, 2006 for NADDA IN SEATTLE. That’s right, we’re bringing it back to the Northwest by popular demand and it will be an even bigger and better show than you remembered.
We’ll be looking for you in all of these places, but, of course, we always look for you first at the museum- where the dolls are. They’ve waited the longest….

Focus in the Gallery

Don’t forget part of your visit to our Changing Exhibits should include a visit to our Permanent Galleries to view similar dolls. In honor of our next exhibit, we thought some of these should be brought to your attention. The Museum has several rare Chinas throughout the galleries, including the “Early Commercial”, “Doll Technology”, and “If Only It Could Speak” sections. Here are two examples worthy of a closer look.

An early example of eyes that can open and close or “sleep” are found on this sweet China. Sleep eyes did not become common until the 1880s, but this lady proves that this invention was used far earlier as she is dated between 1860 to 1870. Our German lady has an unknown maker, but she likes the mystery surrounding her origin as you can tell by her infectious smile. A human hair wig, kid body, and blue eyes that she likes to bat to show her uniqueness complete her.

An absolutely gorgeous China that is even more special than she appears. This English child has flesh tinted China with high color ruddy cheeks to match her home spun, wool, two piece plaid dress and matching red shoes. She’s dressed in a Welsh costume, including hat and cotton ruffled undercap over a human hair wig, which shows off her finely detailed china arms and legs and beautifully painted blue eyes. Though we do not know her maker she comes with a royal history as she was believed to have been given in 1850 to Victoria, Princess Royal and eldest daughter of Queen Victoria. This child doll was accompanied by the following letter, announcing her history, “The Dowr. Lady Lyttelton encloses to Mrs. Irwin (?) a post office order for the amount of the price of the Doll received for the Princess Royal; which has arrived safe, and is much approved. Windsor Castle Decr. 21st 1850.”

Member Events

Our Summer Members’ Event, featuring
“Accessories for Dolly”!

June 4, 2005
10am to 5pm

Once again our Rose Room will be filled to the brim with all those things our dollies love – accessories, accessories, accessories! HATS, GLOVES, SHOES, SOCKS, BOWS, PURSES, PINS, PARASOLS, JEWELRY, APRONS, AND MORE!! Receive your member discount on all items purchased. Exclusive to Members.
Refreshments Served Don’t forget your dollies when you come! For more information on becoming a member & attending these special events, please give the Museum a call at 425-455-1116.

Mother’s Day Tea

Please join us in honoring mothers everywhere and especially your mother and grandmother in these age old traditions of the High Tea and the Doll. Come celebrate this special day here at the Museum! Honor the women in your life, or yourself, with a proper English tea in our Rose Room and a tour through our serene galleries.

Saturday May 7, 2005
1:00pm Rose Room
High Tea

Includes - A special gift for Mom, to commemorate your visit
- Short talk on the etiquette and ritual of high tea
-Museum self-guided tour before or after tea time
$39.50 per person
$29.50 10 and under
Babes in arms Free

Space will be limited. Please call the Museum at
425.455.1116 to register for this event.

We’re so proud Lennox Scott, Chairman and CEO of John L. Scott Real Estate, chose to have his Birthday Portrait taken at one of his favorite places - the Rosalie Whyel Museum of Doll Art - for a feature article on him in the Puget Sound Business Journal. How appropriate Lennox stood in front of Rosemary Zilmer’s dollhouse creation “Astonbrook” which graces the Atrium of the Museum.

We Mourn a Favorite Docent

Arletta Golden was one of the first of our docents to join the museum volunteers. She was ever faithful –if it was Tuesday, Arletta was in the Rose Room working on one project or another. Little did we know that secretly at home she was working on another project. Only years later, in her late 80s, would she unveil a series of dolls and their watercolor paintings that she had created after having taken only one doll making class!
Arletta had always been an inspiration to those around her, a gracious and beautiful lady we all tried to emulate. Now we had more to aspire to. Our golden years could be fulfilling and creative ones.
The dolls and paintings became part of a changing exhibit and then part of the Museum’s collection along with one of Arletta’s favorite dancing gowns and shoes depicted on one of the dolls and in its painting. We know her works will live on to inspire many in the years to come. We will always miss this one very great lady.

MUSEUM HOURS: Mon-Sat 10am to 5pm, Sun 1pm to 5pm
Tues-Sat 11am to 4pm, Thurs 11am to 8pm, Closed Sunday & Monday

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